… As Angel Gabriel’s College Marks Maiden Investiture
Two students of Angel Gabriel’s College, Okpuno, Sunday, March 5, became lucky beneficiaries of scholarship by the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor.
The scholarship award was given during the 9:00am Pontifical Mass, at St. Gabriel’s Parish, Okpuno, with many people in attendance, including parishioners, staff, students, parents and friends of the college.
The event also witnessed the investiture of 124 students, as well as the two students who went home with scholarships for one full academic session, reports Rev Fr Constantine Echichechi Okoli.
The Holy Mass was presided over by the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Awka and the proprietor of the school, Most Rev. Paulinus Chukwuemeka Ezeokafor. The Mass, as requested by the manager of Angel Gabriel’s, Rev. Fr. Fidelis Odunukwe, was offered specifically in thanksgiving to God for making the day a reality and for the wellbeing of the college.
During the homily and drawing from the readings of the day (Second Sunday of Lent, A), the prelate emphasized the intrinsic quality of listening, pointing out that genuine listening was faith-oriented and had the character of obedience to Jesus and His Church.
Bishop Ezeokafor explained that faith made listening possible, especially in moments of crises and difficulties, even as he said that listening with faith did not end up in mere words but compelled the listener to act godly too.
Speaking about the joyous and maiden investiture of the students, the Bishop said the thought to have something like St. Patrick’s College down at Okpuno was intensified by October 2021, noting that around February, 2022 the translation of that thought into reality began.
‘The target was to start the 2022/2023 Academic Year here, We thank God that it happened as planned and we are celebrating it today,’ said the Bishop who disclosed that the establishment of such schools was not for monetary gains but rather in imitation of what he described as the good legacy of the early missionaries who, he said, allowed the opening up of churches to go hand in glove with the establishment of schools.
‘Again, it is our conviction that since man is a composite of body and soul, the two must be developed and nurtured simultaneously. Because the human person is born tabula rasa, nurture and nature are paramount in the formation of any human being and the choice of school is highly essential. Parents are the first teachers of every child and those who are teachers in missionary schools must also be good Christians; they are to inform and not deform,’ Bishop Ezeokafor advised.
He lauded all who contributed in making the school to have a very promising future and encouraged the students to be docile to formation and to be malleable.
At the conclusion of the Mass, the address of welcome was presented by Emmanuella Ugochi Ogu and Rosaria Ifunanya Igboanugo, both students of JSS 1.
In that address, they praised God for making that day a reality and for making them grow from the thirteen of them that kicked off the school on 19th September, 2022, to a hundred and twenty-four students. They thanked the Bishop; the manager; the new principal; Lady Edna Ubboe, and all those who helped them in the journey.
Disclosing the values which the colours of their uniform embodied, namely, safety, purity, and cleanliness, trust and stability, they expressed confidence that they would make their parents and the society proud.
An elated Bishop Ezeokafor granted Emmanuella and Rosaria scholarship for one full academic year. They thrilled the audience with their distinct voice and articulating manner of presentation.
Later, the recipients of the scholarship bared their minds to Fides. The overjoyed Emmanuella Ugochi Ogu gushed, ‘I have never won any scholarship in my life before and I thank God that I was privileged to be among the students chosen to present the address.’
She went further to thank the Bishop and her supervisor, Mrs Nfor MaryBruno, and her English Teacher, for their tutorship and encouragement.
In a similar vein, the excited Rosaria Ifunanya Igboanugo said she was filled with tears of joy because as the scholarship would help relieve her parents the financial difficulties they passed through.
For her part, the principal said she was filled with goose pimples while her students were performing because their performance was superb.
‘To cap it, his lordship surprised them with scholarships,’ she said, thanking the Bishop, even as she noted that the whole event provided hope and journey to excellence for the school.
At the end of the celebration, there were group and class photographs with the Bishop, as well as light refreshment.
It was a memorable, historic and joyous celebration for the students and all who came to see the newly built school which had discipline and character formation as her watchword.